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MSc Fusion Energy

Push the boundaries of science in the quest for limitless clean energy

2018/19 entry

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

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28 February, 7 and 14 March

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Research into fusion is entering an exciting new era with several large facilities aiming to achieve the crucial milestone of net energy gain.

To create sustained fusion reactions, fusion fuel must be heated to 100 million degrees. The fuel is rapidly converted to plasma, which is extremely difficult to confine and control. New international facilities using high-energy lasers and superconducting magnets are crucial steps on the way to reliable fusion energy but there are still many challenges to overcome.

This MSc will prepare you to address these challenges. You will be introduced to the skills in computational and experimental plasma physics, and conduct cutting-edge research under the guidance of physicists at the York Plasma Institute.

You'll have unrivalled opportunities to interact with world-class international fusion scientists, making the MSc in Fusion Energy an excellent way to explore your interest in fusion and prepare for a career in this field.

Women in science

The Department of Physics is the proud holder of an Athena SWAN Silver Award and an IOP Juno Champion award, recognising of our committment to gender equality.

Athena SWAN Silver Award  Institute of Physics - Juno Champion

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Dr Kate Lancaster, Programme Leader, talks about her experiences using really big lasers.

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Studying under many of the UK's top Fusion scientists, as well as eating lunch and chatting freely with them was exceptionally beneficial for my knowledge. The lectures were incredible, with each course designed to provide you with the most up-to-date fusion physics and engineering, including a particular emphasis on data analysis and computational modelling.
Hamish, MSc Fusion Energy

Read more of our graduates' stories.

World-leading tutors

Learn from internationally-renowned researchers pushing the boundaries of knowledge in fusion energy

Cutting-edge techniques and facilities

Access to state-of-the-art data analysis techniques and equipment, in purpose built teaching, research, laboratory spaces

Novel research projects with our experts

Conduct novel research under the supervision of our world-class researchers, with potential for collaboration with external organisations

Course content

You'll take a number of core lecture courses, supplemented by laboratory work designed to develop your computational and experimental skills. You can choose from a range of option modules to focus your learning on topics you wish to pursue further.

You will explore the many exciting areas of modern plasma research, for example: cutting-edge medical therapies utilising plasma jets and beams of laser-generated ions; plasmas as compact particle accelerators and next generation plasma space propulsion systems.

The MSc culminates in a major research project where, under the supervision of world-leading physicists at the York Plasma Institute, you will conduct cutting-edge research in fusion.

Modules

Core modules

Plasma Physics for Fusion introduces the basic plasma physics principles, using examples from fusion to provide specific applications. (10 credits)

Further Plasma Physics will extend your knowledge of plasma behaviour, and introduce high energy density and technological plasmas. (10 credits)

Fusion - Inertial Confinement provides an overview of key aspects of inertial confinement fusion, including the physics of ignition and burn, implosion physics, laser plasma interactions and hydrodynamic instabilities as well as being introduced to the latest developments in the field such as fast ignition. (10 credits)

Fusion - Magnetic Confinement holds plasma at much lower density than inertial confinement, but for much longer times. This module focuses on the physics of magnetically confined plasma such as in the tokamak. It explores the key topics of stability, heating, heat transport, and turbulence. (10 credits)

Plasma Diagnostic Techniques explores the physics behind key plasma diagnostics, plasmas refractive index measurements, the spectroscopy of plasma emission from free and bound electrons, the scattering of electromagnetic radiation and fusion product detection. (10 credits)

Fusion Technology introduces the complex materials science and technology issues associated with future fusion reactors. You'll learn about the main components of fusion reactor designs and explore methods of analysis and operation. (10 credits)

Frontiers of Fusion Workshop is an intensive week-long workshop featuring lectures by UK and overseas experts. You'll develop an appreciation of both magnetically confined and inertially confined fusion and an understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of research into fusion. (10 credits)

Fusion Laboratory is a chance to put theoretical knowledge into practice. You'll gain tools and methods for interpreting magnetic and inertial confinement fusion experiments, and learn how to simulate plasmas using a range of computational techniques. (30 credits)

Option modules

Choose one of the following in the Autumn Term:

Choose one of the following in the Spring/Summer Term:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Research project

MSc Project (60 credits)

Your final project is an open-ended investigation which you'll design, carry out and report on independently. The project will provide an opportunity for creativity and original thought, and will give access to cutting-edge fusion research

Each project has a specific staff supervisor who will give advice and assistance as needed at regular supervisory meetings. Available projects will vary from year to year to reflect the interests of our researchers. Recent projects have included:

  • Design and build of critical focal spot monitoring diagnostic for a VULCAN PW laser experiment
  • Designing experiments to control and understand the MAST Upgrade Super-X divertor
  • Statistical analysis of fluctuation fields in a linear plasma device
  • Parametric study of fast electron transport
  • Erupting plasmas: explosive instability and fusion

It is likely that some projects will be based at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (for example, using the MAST tokamak) or the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

There is also potential to undertake a project with industry.

What attracted me most to my particular project was the opportunity to do some real hands-on science, that and actually being able to generate a visible plasma!
Michael, MSc Fusion Energy

Read about more of our students' final projects.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,940£20,910
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,970
year 1 fee
£10,455
year 1 fee

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

You will be taught with a combination of lectures, problem classes, and computational and experimental lab sessions. You'll also attend two week-long intensive workshops featuring experts from outside the University, which will develop your wider understanding of fusion energy and provide opportunities to connect with leading researchers.

Teaching location

Most of your teaching will take place in the Department of Physics and York Plasma Institute on Campus West. The majority of departments, colleges and facilities are based nearby.

Some research projects are based off-site, for example at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed with a mixture of closed and open-book exams, essays, and evaluation of your laboratory work.

The grade for your research project is based on your project notebook and final report. You'll also sit a viva on your final report; an oral exam which is excellent preparation for a research degree.

York Plasma Institute has great facilities, offers very high quality teaching and greatly interactive environment where MSc students can daily discuss with PhD students and the academic staff.
July, MSc Fusion Energy

Read more of our graduates' stories.

Careers and skills

We provide bespoke careers sessions throughout the year to help you maximise your full potential in whatever career you choose.

Many of our students are offered PhD positions following the MSc, in both fusion energy and other subject areas. They go on to doctoral studies at York, Oxford, Imperial, Strathclyde, Durham and Liverpool, among others. Other students go straight into industry, some as far afield as Japan.

Career opportunities

  • PhD student
  • Software developer
  • Engineer
  • Transport Modeller
  • Civil service
  • Associate Lecturer (further education)

Transferable skills

  • Research and analysis
  • Computer programming in a range of languages
  • Time-management
  • Presentation skills
  • Team work
  • Data management

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
Degree

You should have, or be about to complete, a BSc degree at 2:2 (or equivalent) in Physics or a related discipline.

Other qualifications

Entry requirements for international students

English language

If English is not your first language, you may need to provide evidence of your ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component
  • PTE: 55, with no less than 51 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 169, with minimum 162 in each component
  • TOEFL: 79 with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Pass in all requirements

Further information about English language requirements

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

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